The behind the scenes soap opera continues between Prospect Park and ABC! As the story goes, ABC canceled both All My Children and One Life to Live back in 2011 and licensed the rights to Prospect Park. Prospect Park has now readied the shows for their online premieres on April 29th amidst several issues with the licensing agreement between the two business entities, one of which has been the issue of the usage of original Llanview characters John McBain, Starr Manning, and Todd Manning.
In an item from Deadline.com this afternoon, “One week before Prospect Park is set to launch online soaps All My Children and One Life To Live, the production company is filing a breach of contract lawsuit against ABC, which licensed the shows to Prospect Park, the company of Jeff Kwatinetz and former Walt Disney studios president Rich Frank, two years ago. In the complaint, which has been filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Prospect Park claims that ABC has been breaking the licensing agreement and sabotaging Prospect Park’s efforts to continue AMC and OLTL online.
The lawsuit won’t derail the plans for the AMC and OLTL re-launch on April 29. “These shows will go forward, and Prospect will address its right sin Court,” the suit said. “Regardless of how successful Prospect may be,the fact remains that ABC did not deliver what it promised, Prospect did not get what it paid for,and Prospect is now entitled to recover millions of dollars in damages for ABC’s egregious conduct.” The complaint seeks monetary damages of at least $25 million.
The lawsuit follows a couple of months of building up tensions and threats of legal action between Prospect Park and ABC centered on OLTL actors who had been starring on ABC’s General Hospital since the cancellation of OLTL by ABC. Prospect Park attempted to get them back, which created a standoff with ABC. The last straw came last week when ABC announced that OLTL’s Kristen Alderson, Michael Easton and Roger Howarth will return to GH on May 10, presumably as new characters. According to the lawsuit, after taking over AMC and OLTL in 2011, Prospect Park, in “a gesture of good will”, allowed ABC “to borrow seven OLTL characters to appear on a limited basis” on the network’s soap General Hospital for the actors playing them can have employment. (It is understood that, despite having the characters on a temporary basis, ABC signed the actors playing them in long-term deals, making their return to OLTL even more difficult. Howarth recently made a short-term deal with Prospect Park to do a stint on OLT before returning to GH.) Prospect Park claims that in the arrangement, they retained “approval rights over ABC’s use of the OLTL characters. But “for over a year, ABC outright failed and refused to consult with Prospect on any storylines involving these characters, rendering Prospect’s approval rights meaningless.” With that, “in the ultimate act of bad faith, ABC inexplicably killed off two OLTL characters on loan to GH by having their car forced off a cliff. ABC effectively killed another major OLTL character, who was not even licensed to ABC, by revealing that this long-standing OLTL character is in fact another character (alter ego) on GH.”
Prospect Park also claims ABC breached the two side’s licensing agreement by refusing to hand over to Prospect Park the URLs for the two soaps the company had purchased, onelifetolive.com and allmychildren.com. “These URLs are not only critical to establishing public awareness for the re-launch, but they are part of the rights paid for by Prospect. It is understood that ABC also recently declined to air ads for OLTL because it features prominently an actor who is on GH.”
Despite the fact that ABC retains some ownership in AMC and OLTL under the licensing agreement, Prospect Park argues that ABC is trying to sabotage the two show’s transition online. The complaint claims that “at least one ABC executive” involved in the decisions to how to handle OLTL actors on GH, “has openly declared his desire to see Prospect fail” and suggests that the network’s actions may be driven by “a basic fear of embarrassment if Prospect succeeds.”
On-Air On-Soaps will keep you abreast on the further developments of this breaking story! So soap fans, do you agree that at this point, Prospect Park should sue ABC? Do you understand where Prospect Park is coming from in their claims that ABC is sabotaging their online efforts with the two beloved shows? Wouldn’t it be good for the soap industry in general, if these two companies could reach an agreement somehow, especially at a time when GH delivered an amazing 50th anniversary celebration and Prospect Park is about to relaunch two soaps? Let us know your thoughts on it all!